Greenock face important match with Poloc


Greenock travel up the M8 this Saturday for an important league match against Poloc at Shawholm. And although it is just the second weekend of the league programme, this game could well turn out to be a clash between two of the sides who will challenge for the top positions in the division. In the opening league fixtures both Greenock and Poloc won comfortably and last season the two clubs just missed out on promotion. So the outcome of this match could have a very important bearing on this season's league placings.

Against Weirs last Saturday , Greenock turned in a very solid team performance with both ball and bat. Phil McIntosh, an experienced all rounder in the side, picked up four wickets at little cost and was well supported by Neil Flack and Aussie overseas amateur Declan White, who each had two wickets. The fielding performance of the local side was perhaps al little patchy with a number of chances being missed, but early in the season, on a cool afternoon, this was perhaps understandable. That said, there were also a couple of outstanding catches taken by Sam Sanghera and wicketkeeper Chris Hempsey, plus a fine run out.

Neil Flack, showed some fine early season form with the sort of innings at the top of the order last which he will look to repeat on Saturday at Poloc. The Under-19 Scotland captain was solid and assured as he compiled an unbeaten 52 runs against Weirs and was supported by Chris Hempsey who was not out on 38, as Greenock easily overtook the Glasgow southsiders total of 137 all out.

Bolstering Greenock's batting for the Poloc match will be the Club's newly arrived second overseas amateur from Australia, 19 year old Damon Rootes. He is a left hand opening batsman who comes highly recommended by former Glenpark professional Peter Clifford who was also Rootes' coach on a recent Emu tour to New Zealand. The young Aussie will make his Greenock debut on Saturday and will be keen to get off to a good run-scoring start to his summer stay in Scotland.

The match in Glasgow on Saturday this weekend against Poloc will be likely to be an altogether much more difficult fixture than last weekend's opener against Weirs. Poloc finished in third top position in the league in 2015 and have numerous good players in their side with their team captain, Craig Young, just missing out on an opening weekend century against Renfrew by finishing his innings on 99 not out at the end of his team's 50 overs. The Glasgow club's two South African overseas players also both scored well against Renfrew, with Jurie Snyman 72 and Cornelius Van der Walt 60 not out in the side's 280 for the loss of 3 wickets.

If Greenock can bowl and field well and get rid of these three batsmen early on, then Poloc may be vulnerable. Otherwise, the Shawholm side have demonstrated they are a strong top order batting unit.

In the field against Renfrew last weekend, Poloc's top wicket-taker was youngster Lewis James coming on as third change bowler with 4 wickets for 34 from six overs. Opening bowler Mohammad Ghaffar picked up two wickets, as did team captain Craig Young, who came on towards the end of the Renfrew innings. One area which Poloc will have been practising in midweek is catching, as, in common with Greenock on the cold afternoon, numerous chances were put down during the Renfrew innings.

The match is well set therefore to be an interesting and important early season league encounter and it may well give an indication of just how far this young Greenock side has progressed. By Saturday evening, when the results are all in, the Glenpark faithful will be hoping their side remains top of the division. For that to be the case, a fine all round team performance will be needed. With confidence high due to an unbeaten start to the season and a very good team spirit, the bookies might wish to be careful with their odds on this one.

Greenock's team for the match, which starts at the later time of 1pm, shows the one change from that which beat Weirs with Rootes replacing Aidan Forrest.

The Glenpark XI start their league season with a difficult match at Glenpark with the Shawholm XI, who have been very strong in recent seasons. The locals have included a number of promising young players in their squad selection for the match which will also start at 1pm.

The Hillend XI have no fixture this weekend.

Greenock Cricket Club is sponsored this season by Cleaning Supplies 4U.